A Single Mom, Not a Superhero

Girl as super heroAfter four years as a single mom, I still have not realized the impossibility of also being a superhero. Instead of accepting this reality, my inner voice regularly makes declarations like this:

“One day in the future, this is all going to come together, and be easy.”

It would be better to stop telling myself these lies, and instead view life more realistically; I will continue to be behind in all areas of my life probably until Monkey leaves for college. Or retirement. Maybe then I will have the time to get my life in order.

The juggling act of a working mom was challenging, but trying to keep the balls in the air as a single, working mom seems impossible. And yet, with four years’ experience as a single mom, I still think I can be a superhero, too.

Is getting my life in order and not feeling behind a time management issue, a lack of focus, or desire? I have asked myself these questions, and continue to believe it is not. I want to be ahead on work projects, house cleaning, meal planning, and my online projects. Each time I analyze how I can make a positive change, I come back to one thing:


It gets in the way of making progress. For some reason, no matter how much caffeine I drink, I eventually need to sleep. What happened recently is a great example:

I had a difficult, intense, time-sensitive project that took almost every waking moment for a week. With the project completed Sunday night, I was happy for Monday, knowing I could take a well-deserved break. I awoke yesterday excited to clean the house, catch up on laundry, grocery shop for the week, and do a bit of yard work. I also wanted to catch up on emails, call a few friends, and read.

After a flurry of activity getting lunches packed and kids off to school, I was ready for my day to begin. But then fatigue hit. I tried to push through it yesterday morning, but could barely focus; I was tired. I gave into it, sleeping until 2 PM. I know it was necessary, but it was so upsetting to lose the day I had planned. It was my chance to try to get ahead.

What I did plan to accomplish yesterday was probably too ambitious. But even when I have a pared-down list, the results are typically the same. If I focus on work, the house becomes messier. If I take on a consulting client, I lose writing time for this blog. When it’s baseball season for my son, laundry and cooking seem to suffer the most. There’s always something impeding progress towards feeling less behind in my life.

It might be time to neatly fold my cape, storing it for a time later in life.

Right now a heroic feat is taking on the mountain of laundry to fold.

Note: Thank you to  Ann Quasman for the Facebook post of this image recently. It inspired this piece today.


14 responses to “A Single Mom, Not a Superhero”

  1. As a single parent, I feel like by definition we’re Superheroes. Sometimes even Superheroes encounter kryptonite and show weakness. We’re at least partly Human, after all ;)

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thanks for the encouraging words, Sean. I guess I could change my perspective, seeing all that I do in a day as heroic instead of focusing on what has yet to be accomplished. I have written about being positive regarding the limitations, but some weeks I find myself wallowing. Like this one.

  2. I’ve given up on trying to get it all done. I focus on my work and my kids and if the house is messy or we have mac & cheese 3 times in a week, well, whatever. They’re being fed. They aren’t dirty. They spend time with me and/or doing things they like to do. I can’t do it all, all by myself. Not with 3 kids and all the running around that entails.

    That said, if I had the money to hire someone to come in twice a week and clean, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Even with me NOT being Suzy Homemaker, sometimes the house is just too messy to take.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Giving up. Yes, I think that is the only way to keep my sanity in tact. I have learned to lower the bar significantly over the last four years, but like you, there are weeks where I feel it is just too much.

  3. The same thing happens to me and I don’t even have kids.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Oh, no! I am sorry to hear you struggle with this, too.

  4. There is never enough time. As a single working mother, I am juggling several jobs, online obligations, kid activities and sleep. I drop the ball daily, which doesn’t sit very well with my perfectionist side, but in the grand scheme of things, I figure the priorities rise to the top: my health, my kids, my mortgage.

    After that, I squeeze in what I can :)

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      The perfectionist in me is what drives this frustration. I need to learn to let go, focusing on what I do accomplish each day. Some weeks are just more frustrating than others.

  5. I get tired of everyone telling me how aweosme it is I team mom..err dad my teenager’s cheerleading team, make my middle’s daughter judo, and get my youngest girl on the bus everyday.

    It’s what I’m supposed to do.

    The “superhero” stuff is the fact that we keep doing what we’re supposed to do when it gets really friggin hard. I’m remarried and My wife is wonder woman. But being a good parent when times are tough, money;s tight, your friends are a-holes, and your family;s a pill, that’s where the powers come from.

    Keep up the good work, Kel

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thanks, Lance, for always having an encouraging thought for me.

  6. And I thought I was busy! I was just lamenting my lack of womanly super-powers yesterday, but I can’t imagine putting single-parenthood into the mix. Way to bring perspective to this overworked lunatic.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      I think we should all hang up our capes, and pour a glass of wine.

  7. I feel this way as a married mom. I can’t imagine how you single gals do it. My hat’s off to you. Just relax and know that you ARE a superhero by what you manage to get done without a partner.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      We all have our own set of unique challenges–married or single. I hope you find progress in your life as well.